"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"A single trip...on an airplane gives us a vision of the world that our imagination could not have revealed otherwise. Once we return to our modest existence as pedestrians, we will remember...the splendor of the sun as well as a perception of unlimited space in which for a moment we felt ourselves to be free."
"What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labour, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?" -- George Eliot
"To realize your true nature, you must wait for the right moment and the right conditions. When the time comes, you are awakened as if from a dream. You understand that what you have found is your own and doesn't come from anywhere outside." - Buddhist Sutra
In an unusual ad campaign this hotel banks on its' bad reputation.
The following book is for sale on their website:
"The Worst Hotel in the World : The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel, Amsterdam" by Kesselskramer
The above ads caught my eye because the name Hans Brinker rang a bell. I remembered long ago on my very first trip to Europe we had indeed stayed at this infamous student hostel. We had probably read about it in the book we carried, "Europe on $5.00 a Day". I pulled out a copy of my travel diary and found this entry:
Wednesday, July 14, 1971: "We look for a restaurant to pass time and eat before the Kroller Mueller Museum opens. We eat broojies a kind of meat/sausage pie and drink coffee. we leave for Amsterdam after seeing the museum and buy bread, cheese and sausage for lunch. We arrive in Amsterdam and eat lunch by a canal and find a student hotel to spend the night-"HansBrinker" hotel. In the evening we went on the canal rides but we are so tired we each fall asleep for awhile- Amsterdam is a beautiful city."
Personally I don't have any bad recollections of the Hans Brinker Hotel but then again I was very young and it was my first trip to Europe and most of the time was spent sleeping in campgrounds in a tube tent (aka a cyclinder of plastic tubing with a rope running through the plastic to tie the ends to nearby trees, clothes pins used to close the ends of the plastic for privacy). This was a "budget" 9 week trip taken with 3 other girls. In my mind that trip opened a whole world I had never imagined in my wildest dreams. Spending less than $300 for the trip (I know that's hard for even me to believe) I had the most incredible summer vacation. To me every site, every sound, every country and we visited over nine countries was magical. So for me Hans Brinker Hotel is just a tiny, pleasant memory of a truly incredible life changing summer.
Whaaaat? More dog poop. It wasn't me!
The Hans-Brinker is one of Amsterdams most famous hostels. Otherwise known as
The Most XXXclusive Budget Hotel'
Here you will find: NO PARKING, NO SAUNA, NO BELLBOYS, NO AIR CONDITIONING, NO MINIBARS, NO ROOM SERVICE.
The name Hans Brinker may ring a bell to some
and there are many varied stories on who he was. Here is one explanation:
Who Was Hans Brinker? The Legend of Hans Brinker
The art historian Annette Stott states that with Hans Brinker Mary Mapes Dodge created a work of pure fiction: "She had not visited Holland when she wrote it and relied on a variety of published sources about Dutch life, literature, and art for her information. Stott concludes her research on the book by saying: "The fanciful tale of a finger in the dike, which was repeated by other authors of juvenile literature, undoubtedly went some distance toward establishing in young American minds a belief in the courage, independence and trustworthiness of the Dutch" Somehow, Mary Mapes Dodge tried to depict Holland as an ideal and idyllic nation of brave, righteous, godfearing farmfolk on wooden shoes. It is said that 99% of the Americans know this so-called Dutch legend about the courageous 'Hans Brinker', mainly by reading the book at school, or hearing the tale from their parents. In the past, many American tourists left the Netherlands in disappointment, because none of the Dutch natives could point out the dyke where Hans Brinker saved the country. Fact is that the story of Hans Brinker was hardly present in the oral tradition or cultural awareness of the Netherlands, even though the book had been translated into Dutch as early as 1867 by P.J. Andriessen (De zilveren schaatsen, een schets uit het Noord-Hollandsche volksleven, illustrated by Charles Braakensieck). The book has been reprinted several times, always with the following addition by Andriessen to the Hans Brinker legend: "This sweet story is entirely the author's view." Another fact is that there was absolutely no dyke to be shown to the tourists: no dyke, no boy with a finger in it, no Hans Brinker. In order to please the American tourists, the Dutch Bureau for Tourism decided to place a statue of Hans Brinker at Spaarndam in 1950, made by Grada Rueb. In 1954 the Dutch author Margreet Bruijn rewrote the old story as Een nieuw verhaal naar het oude boek van Mary Mapes Dodge (illustrated by Maarten Oortwijn). For the first time now, the adventure is situated in Spaarndam, obviously because of the statue. The inscription beneath the statue is in Dutch and English (American spelling) and it reads:
Opgedragen aan onze jeugd als een huldeblijk aan de knaap die het symbool werd van de eeuwigdurende strijd van Nederland tegen het water. Dedicated to our youth, to honor the boy who symbolizes the perpetual struggle of Holland against the water.-http://members.chello.nl/m.jong9/map12/hansbrinker.html
A mid-January visit to our Italian family in Cleveland Ohio
View from the doorstep of Mike's parents home in the suburb of Fairview Park. We were greeted by lots of snow and...
Mike's mom Lucy (middle) and his dad Nate (seated). Standing is our dear family friend Birdie, from their old neighborhood.
Our daughter Aria had flown in from Italy the week prior for a conference in Washington D.C. so she joined us in Ohio to make our family visit complete.
As I looked out the living room window I marvelled at this snowy winter scene so different from our winter in southern California.
Of course, Mike had his work cut out for him.
A visit to Ohio is never complete without a night out for dinner at Cafe Roma. That's Lucy's cousin Carla from Rome. She her husband cousin Angelo are the owners of this cute and cozy little neighborhood Italian restaurant. Tonight is Carla's birthday so of course we had to offer her our birthday wishes. "Tanti Auguri Carla!"
Such a happy reunion for Mike and Aria
Cousins Aria and Amanda
Carla was happy to share all her photos of her summer trip with the family back home to Rome. By the way Carla's chef who helps Carla cook is from the city of Lucca. It was fun to hear him chatting away with Aria and Carla in Italian.
Here's Grandma Lucy, Aria and our dear Aunt Fifi, who is sweetest most wonderful angel in our family. Everyone loves Aunt Fi.
Aunt Fifi, Aria and Uncle Frank.
People ask us how do we spend our time when we go back home. Well, we sit in the kitchen alot. When we're not eating (which is alot of the time),we play games like Upwords, and scrabble and cards.
Mike's younger brother Rocky knows all the best places to eat in greater Cleveland. He said we had to try the newest crazy crowded hot spot called, "The Melt". If you ever watch Guy Fiery
on the Food Network you know how he loves "Diners Drive-ins and Dives". The Melt fits into that category. So we had to show up just like Guy. (Just not on the same day!)
Here' s the owner Matt with Guy Fiery.
There's a really funny bar that was so busy.
Here's us eating at The Melt. Whoa that was some big meal! Can you believe we waited an hour and a half for our table. This place is crazy busy all the time.
Then there was marathon shopping for all kinds of goodies. As I said before my brother in law knows the best places for all kinds of good food.
Blackbird Baking company makes great foccaccio and all different types of artisan breads but I am hooked on the gooey carmelized pecan rolls. Oh my goodness I want one now!
Then Rocky introduced me to "Sweet Dreams" a wonderful specialty chocolate shop in Lakewood. I met the owner who is a very interesting woman from Croatia. I felt like I was in a scene from the movie "Chocolate". Every bite of her delicious chocolates sent me straight to heaven. I want to do a separate post on this store.
We'd often take drives through the beautiful valley laden with snow. It's very close to their home.
On this day we took my niece Amanda sledding. She's right there in the middle on her blue sled. It was hilarious watching her go down the hill
Of course once you go down you must trek back up to do it all again. Kids have endless energy!
Plenty of steeper slopes for ski enthusiasts. That's not me though.
Both the brothers love to cook and whenever we go back home "Watch Out". There's tons of good eating involved. Here Mike was trying to recreate his grandmother's spagetti sauce.
One night we had a wonderful fish fry. Rocky was in charge of this meal. This is lake Erie perch and it was delicious. Do you think we have enough fish?
This was a joint effort by Rocky, Amanda and Mike to make homemade gnocchi (potatoe dumplings)
This is the kind of thing that makes a "nonna" (grandma) smile.
Something good is always cooking in Lucy's kitchen. Mmmmm such delicious aromas fill the house.
We stopped by Rockys house to pick him up for our days outing. I couldn't get over the icycles on all the rooftops.
We don't see icycles like this on houses in our neighborhood. They're amazing to me.
Aria, Rocky and Mike shop for specialty items at the famous Westside market. You can find anything you want here and it's just so much fun to see all the different items. On this day we bought Alligator meat. Why? Well just to experience something different. You can find just about anything here.
I decide to sample some gourmet popcorn. (Just in case the alligator meat is not to my liking.)
It had been several years since we'd visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in downtown Cleveland. We decided a visit would be fun.
The museum is situated right on the lake. The architecture is by I. M. Pei and it will feel familiar to some of you as it echoes the theme of glass pyramids like in so many of his other famous buildings.
Well before we knew it the week was over and it was time to say goodbye to our Aria. Always such a bittersweet goodbye but we are looking forward to seeing her this summer in Italy. So there's always the next time. Yippee for family reunions!
“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.”
I believe in love and kindness, family first, deep meaningful friendships, counting one's blessings and giving to others what you yourself need. I strive to see life as a glass half full. I am very grateful for the life I have and all the wonderful people that make this grand adventure so worthwhile.